That’s what being said about the #1 pick of the Niners. The San Jose Mercury reports…..”A defensive end for the Tigers, he will converted to OLB, where the 49ers hope he emerges as the pass-rushing threat they so sorely lack. He set a league (Big12) freshman record with 19 tackles for a loss in 2009.”
I am confused (what’s new?) at why the Niners want to annoint A. Smith as an OLB considering they have four players at that position that seem to present a nice rotation? Those players of course would be Parys Haralson, Manny Lawson, Travis LaBoy, and Ahmed Brooks. Maybe the free agency status of some of these players is what’s coming into play here? Manny Lawson is a FA and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go. I believe Travis LaBoy is as well, but I for one sure hope the Niners bring him back. I felt he was a big contributor last year and recorded 5 sacks as a part time player.
Now back to the issue at hand. Aldon Smith was a DE at Missouri and a great physical specimen. 6’5″, 265 lbs, with a wing span bigger than a 747. Why not keep him at DE replacing Issac Sopoaga who delivered an unremarkable 1.5 sacks and 25 tackles in 2010? In contrast, the “other Smith”………..Justin, had 70 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Great teams, even ones who play the 3-4, need to get pressure from their DE’s and Sopoaga just hasn’t been able to deliver in this area. Thus, teams who found a way to block Justin Smith had a lot of success throwing the ball against the Niners.
Personally, I like Aldon Smith as the third member of the front three of the Niners, with Haralson and Brooks starting as OLB’s , with a lot of Travis LaBoy mixed in.